The first few things to think of when doing functional training with any piece of equipment is, am I using multiple muscles?
And how is my core being used in this movement?
Remember that functional training is done to improve strength and fitness for more practical purposes than just aesthetics.
Think of any sport or how you need to do your job or even just make your day-to-day life easier.
Functional training is growing in popularity, and a big reason for that is people are seeing exercise being done with all these crazy and cool pieces of equipment.
But we’ve lost sight of what functional training is actually for.
Having a strong core or trunk, however, you want to say it, is important for everything.
The muscles that make up your abdomen and lower back.
We use those muscles to stabilize and balance.
We use them in almost every strength movement.
Without a strong core, everything else is going to feel tough.
Hence why I’ve said we need to think about how your core comes into it when we start doing any sort of functional training.
Twisting movements and single or single-arm movements will all force you to use your core to stabilize or keep balance.
And the other thing we need to remember is how many muscles we are using.
Going back to what functional training is in its simplest form, an exercise that serves a practical purpose.
So if you want to move something heavy around it’s going to be easier to do this by using my muscles together.
So by training with functional full-body movements you are going to be able to transfer that strength to your life.
Take an oblique twist or woodchopper for example.
Start with a band tied to a post at a height somewhere between your naval and your chest.
Now holding the other end step out so you are side on to the post.
With tension on the band, hold it out to your side with straight arms and twist away from the post.
This movement is engaging your core through a full range of motion.
You’ll find yourself shifting your feet around to keep balanced.
Your legs and shoulders are braced.
Your core keeps you balanced while also performing the twisting movement, with multiple muscle groups being used.
But can you see where you could apply this to your life?
Think about moving a box from a shelf to a table.
Or even swinging a bat at a ball?
Just one functional movement you can do with resistance bands.
Resistance bands are so easy to use anywhere as well.
You can literally train anywhere you want with a packet of resistance bands.
And to prove that I wrote an Ebook which you can download for free right here.
Train wherever the f*ck you want!
Let’s start off with how easy they are to use and transport.
Resistance bands are your travel gym.
You can take them anywhere, they don’t weigh much or take up much space.
Making them the perfect tool for traveling.
Every time we go away, even just for a few days I take my bands with me.
I know I can do a decent strength workout anywhere if I just have a resistance band with me.
And now let’s look at the workouts themselves.
When you train with a resistance band you are keeping tension on the muscles for the full range of motion.
Which you can’t get when you train with free weights.
As good as free weights are for building muscle they can’t offer you tension through the full range of motion.
Yeh sure you can build up in weight and this minimizes that.
But if you’re always moving about for work.
Or worse, stuck inside in quarantine you might not always have the luxury of a full set of free weights.
This is where resistance bands bet everything.
One band can do all the work of a full set of free weights if you know what you’re doing.
Sure it has its limits on how heavy you can go, but that’s an easy problem to workaround.
Just by slowing down the movement, and spending even more time under tension, you are getting even more out of each rep.
And in even less time!
So let’s take some typical functional movements and see if we can do them with bands.
Let’s start off by replicating a kettlebell swing.
Everything is the same for this as your standard kettlebell swing.
Only you lose the resistance at the bottom but it increases rapidly through the movement.
You can even use a band to take a kettlebell swing a step further.
Ok, what about an overhead squat.
For me, overhead squats are a great core strength or mobility movement.
By doing them with a band instead, you will really get your core firing.
The constant pull of the band is going to have you wobbling all over the show if you’re not keeping your shit tight!
Ok, let’s look at a couple of core movements I do with my clients fairly regularly.
Pallof press and split-step twist
Pallof press is pretty basic to understand.
You want the tension coming from the seat.
And you simply press out in front and back nice and fast, without letting the bad pull you to the side.
Split step twist is one of my favorite core movements.
It gets your heart rate up and your core burning.
The real work in this though is the control.
You don’t want your hands crossing back over your feet.
This is an awesome core movement for any contact sport.
Now we’ll go into some of the compound movements.
Most compound movements I would classify as functional movements.
As you can easily see where you would replicate these movements in your day-to-day life.
A squat is a great example.
It’s the same as sitting in a chair and standing up again.
Ever wonder why most old people struggle with getting up and down out of a chair?
They’ve let their muscle waste away.
When you stop giving your muscle any kind of simulation they break down and f*ck off!
So the easy way to avoid staying active.
Keep giving your muscles some resistance.
Some banded squats are going to do just that!
Next, let’s take deadlifts.
Another pretty standard functional movement.
You can see where this is applicable to day-to-day life…
Lifting almost anything up off the floor.
And easy enough to do with bands as well.
First, let’s define what functional training is.
Functional means to serve a purpose practically, so functional training is just that.
Training that will benefit a practical purpose.
Training that is going to make your daily life better.
So instead of the main focus of training being to build big muscles and look really good.
It’s about building the strength to perform your daily tasks better.
And the biggest thing to mention about that is if you’re training hard and eating right you’re going to build a great body as well!
Not just a great body, a well proportioned, strong body.
And resistance bands are more than capable of performing all of the same functional movements as any piece of equipment.
Squats, deadlifts, overhead press, rows just to name a few.
You use them all the time!
But seriously, if you want to get the most use out of them, do all your training with them.
And mix it up, do big sets with lighter bands.
Do small sets with a heavy band.
But one of my favorite things to do to get a crazy good workout with bands is to simply slow the movement down.
When you spend more time under the tension resistance bands create, you get a more effective workout.
In my program Ripped With Resistance Bands.
We do 2 days a week of normal controlled rep ranges.
And we do 2 days focusing on slow negatives.
By taking 8 seconds to lower the band back down, you fatigue your muscles faster.
I use this same technique to help clients achieve their first push up, pull up and even pistol squats.
Check out this video to see how it works.
So there we have it.
Functional training with resistance bands is not only effective but easy to do from anywhere.
So if you haven’t already, download your FREE copy of my EBook Train wherever the f*ck you want.
And if you’re still not sure exactly where you are at on your fitness journey, book a FREE evaluation call with me and find out how I can help you take back control of your health and fitness!